from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. One that serves as a leader or as a leading indicator of future trends: "The degree to which the paper is censored is a political bellwether” ( Justine De Lacy).
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The leading sheep of a flock, having a bell hung round its neck.
- n. Anything that indicates future trends.
- n. A stock or bond that is widely believed to be an indicator of the overall market's condition.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. A wether, or sheep, which leads the flock, with a bell on his neck.
- n. Hence: A leader.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A wether or sheep which leads the flock, usually carrying a bell on its neck.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. sheep that leads the herd often wearing a bell
- n. someone who assumes leadership of a movement or activity
Middle English bellewether, wether with a bell hung from its neck, leader of the flock : belle, bell; see bell1 + wether, wether; see wether.(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English belwether, belleweder ("a sheep with a bell around its neck to lead a flock"), equivalent to bell + wether. (Wiktionary)